Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau may have found mainstream Hollywood success with the popularity of the shows and films he’s starred in, but nothing excited the star more than walking the runway with his younger daughter Safina Waldau last week at the Le Défilé L’Oréal Paris event.
After appearing with his wife Nukâka Coster-Waldau at the Paris Fashion Week runway in 2022, this time around, the 53-year-old was a proud father as he shared the stage with his daughter (also an actor), to tumultuous applause from the audience.
As a United Nations Development Program Goodwill Ambassador, Nikolaj has supported many causes over the years, especially in the realm of gender equality and women’s empowerment, as well as documenting the effects of climate change and global warming in regions across the world. Now, he bats for this year’s Le Défilé L’Oréal Paris theme of standing up against street harassment. The actor talks to us about all things fashion and Paris, and debunks the rumour about him getting inked!
Excerpts from an exclusive interview:
What has been your impression of Le Défilé L’Oréal Paris over the years?
This is the fourth time I’m here, and it’s an out-of-body experience for me each time. I’m not used to doing the catwalk, but Le Défilé L’Oréal Paris is quite different from the rest of the fashion weeks as it has a very specific theme and supports a cause. Stars from all over the world are walking the ramp, and it’s fun to witness it. This year, I’m here with my wife and second daughter, and it’s a very cool experience for all of us.
What is your take on this year’s theme of taking a stand against street harassment? As a UNDP ambassador, what more do you think can be done to reduce this from happening globally?
The theme, Stand Up Against Street Harassment, addresses a big problem globally. It all comes down to basic human rights and respecting each other; treating others like you want them to treat you — it’s that simple. I don’t think there is any man who doesn’t know the difference between right andwrong. We definitely have come a long way from how things were 20 years ago. Times are changing, but sometimes we do feel that change is not happening fast enough, right?
Considering you are married to a beauty queen (former Miss Greenland Nukâka Coster-Waldau), is there any pressure on you from her to make sure your Le Défilé appearances go well?
There’s always pressure to keep up with my wife, that goes without saying! It’s true, she was Miss Greenland when she was 18 years old; she only entered the competition because the first prize was a snowmobile (laughs). Since then, she’s acted in a couple of shows, but didn’t take to modeling. She came to Paris with me last year as well, and that was amazing.
What does Paris mean to you? Do you have any specific memory or association with the city that you cherish?
Ah… Paris. It’s such a beautiful city and rightfully has the legendary status. It’s called the city of romance and love for a reason! I’ve always enjoyed spending time here with my family. My connection with L’Oréal aside (due to which I come here), the movie industry in France is also prestigious and steeped in history. I remember, around two decades ago, I did a French movie. While shooting on set, I could feel the relevance of the history in every scene.
Do you enjoy walking on the runway? What can we expect from your participation in the show this time around?
The first thing I tell myself every year: try to focus and walk without falling over! Thankfully, I seem to have achieved that. This time around, I hope my daughter (Danish actor Safina Waldau) who is walking the ramp with me, also has a gala time, and that people will enjoy watching us together. I am also excited to watch the other professional models on stage, and feel just grateful to be witnessing something special.
What does the concept of fashion mean to you? Do you follow any designers or style icons?
I’m not a model; I come in, try on the clothes they show me, and just go ‘sure, let’s try this or that out…’ (grins). But having said that, Le Défilé is an interesting collaboration and I get to meet so many interesting people who are behind-the-scenes. One of the most important lessons I’ve learnt in life is to accept what you’re not good at, and reach out to people who know more about it than you do! Look, I love beautiful clothes; I notice the quality, the craftsmanship and dedication that goes into making the outfits, and it blows me away. But I’ll admit that fashion is not necessarily a passion of mine; if you showed me five different suits, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a Tom Ford and Dolce & Gabbana!
There was talk of you getting a tattoo to pay tribute to a popular show you starred in; is that true? If not, do you see yourself getting one in the future?
Tattoos? No way! I don’t have any tattoos, and I don’t think I’m ever going to get any. For me, it’s all about saving time and getting ready as quickly as possible when I’m going into make-up and costume, so getting tattoos wouldn’t really help.
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